When people feel empowered, they are more deeply invested in the success of their companies. They’re more engaged, which is logical, as they have a sense of ownership in their enterprise. Studies have shown that empowered workers are happier, more proactive, and more enthusiastic than those in other companies. In fact, they’re 480% more committed to helping their companies thrive, 250% more likely to make suggestions that will better their firms, and 30% less likely to take a sick day!
By giving a company’s people the right to make many of their own decisions, allow their entrepreneurial spirits to soar, and freely approach management with their ideas for improving everything from practices to products, the result is a workforce that feels valued, engaged, and passionate about both their jobs and their company. And that’s a win-win situation for any enterprise.
The benefits of empowerment
When a company enables its staff to establish their own work methods, it benefits from the years of experience each individual offers. This combined experience is a gold mine for businesses looking to reduce costs – and what company isn’t? By allowing their people to propose and implement procedural changes that make their jobs more efficient, companies benefit by saving both time and money.
Empowered workers also feel a greater sense of responsibility regarding their own productivity. When people are in charge of their own results, it boosts their morale. Higher morale translates into increased workplace satisfaction. And that has a positive effect on a company’s bottom line.
Clients are also happier when the people they deal with are empowered. Because empowered workers perform their jobs with more enthusiasm and attention to detail. And clients can only benefit. Customers love communicating with friendly, attentive staff. Empowered workers tend to take a more personal approach with clients, focusing on innovative ways to solve problems. Clients appreciate this increased level of personal consideration – and thus it improves customer retention and loyalty.
The responsibilities of managers
In order to empower their teams, management has an obligation to supply them with the tools they need, both in the form of technical competence and organizational clarity. Coaching and training programs, both online and offline, are essential for familiarizing workers with a company’s ever-evolving products and services. The more people know, the better they can tailor their ideas for improvements to the needs of the enterprise – and to the needs of the customer.
Scott Seibert, a professor of management at the University of Iowa, reviewed over 140 workplace empowerment studies carried out over the last two decades. He found that when managers share information, decentralize authority, involve their workers in decision-making, and provide training opportunities, those workers feel a deep link to their organization and know they matter to its future. He also found that managers who inspire, provide feedback and are good role models increase their staffs’ feelings of competence while helping them find meaning in their work.
“Managers in these studies reported that empowered workers were more innovative and more willing to take the initiative to solve problems on their own,” concluded Seibert. “Employees said they were more engaged in their work when empowered, that they felt like they had an influence and an impact on the business around them.”
For managers, perhaps the most exciting aspect of empowering their people is discovering that there are leaders to be found at every level of their companies.